Downtown View:Baffling

April 7, 2017
By

So many things I don’t understand. Maybe you don’t either.

Some people in some states are all in a lather about women sharing bathrooms with transgender persons who are now female. My question: how would you know?

This person presumably looks like a woman. She would go into a stall like any other woman. It’s private. She would come out and wash her hands. She might even have make-up on. Seems like a woman to me.

I guess some people are afraid that a man will walk in dressed as a woman and try to molest the women in there. Anything is possible, of course.

But women hardly have to go into a bathroom to find men ready to molest them. We found that out this fall that even certain presidents have problems with predation. A ladies room filled with women who once were men seems a lot safer than hanging around with certain elected officials.

Luckily, we live in Massachusetts. No one seems to be much upset over transgender matters.

What does strike closer to home is the stupidity around the St. Patrick’s Day parade. Didn’t the guys who run that parade realize that the city’s patience with discrimination against any group has run out? They did not win this one, and they won’t in the future. No mayor or governor will celebrate with them unless everyone is included, no matter what their sexual orientation is. Sponsors and spectators will flee. Did they think that Trump’s election gave them a pass? Boston’s reputation as an inclusive city has triumphed over the old prejudices and practices. Get with the program, fellas.

Another puzzling matter is the creature who characterizes himself or herself as an “originalist.” “Originalists” are the Supreme Court justices (and others) who claim they interpret the constitution as James Madison, etc. intended it to be interpreted. Antonin Scalia prided himself on this stance. Apparently so does Neil Gorsuch, Trump’s pick for the Supreme Court. They say they base their view on an intellectual study of the law and writings contemporary to the document itself. But even Madison changed his views over the years, so it’s hard to pin him down perfectly.

Makes me wonder. Do “originalists” channel the founding fathers’ inner thoughts? Do they meditate, hoping to divine exactly what Madison was thinking?

Surely they realize that the founders got it wrong many times. Slavery? Not allowing women to vote? Creating an electoral college to get the slave states to join the new United States so that slavery continues to dog us? Three electors in Wyoming represent an average of 187,923 residents each. California’s 55 electors represent an average of 677,355 people each—a disparity of 3.6 to 1. In Massachusetts, each of the 11 electoral votes represents 595,239 people, so a Wyoming voter has about three times as much influence on electing a president that we do. That doesn’t sound like one “man,” one vote.

The founders got it wrong with so many matters, why would we consider their views (whatever those were) as sacred in other realms. Laws have been passed, and circumstances have changed. What makes some supposedly smart people believe they are one of the few who have such insight into the heads of men who lived more than 200 years ago and that those opinions should be considered ahead of everything else? It seems weirdly like those folks who know what God wants. Another direct line that you figure most people don’t have. Odd.

And there are still those mattresses. I was baffled by mattresses last fall, and I’m still baffled by them. We recently visited relatives in Scottsdale, Arizona. There was a mattress store on every corner. Are people not sleeping well? Are mattresses now made so poorly that they break down easily and must be replaced every five years? Have we spent so much money on everything else that we’re down to mattresses to satisfy our acquisitive needs? Who knew there would be more mattress stores than grocery stores?

With so many baffling things in the world, I’m glad that spring is coming. Already tulip tips are emerging from the soft ground. Tulips are one thing we can count on not to baffle us.

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